Compost-Included Deep Litter Hoop Coop

By knightwriter, Jul 5, 2014 | Updated: Aug 3, 2014 | | |
  1. knightwriter
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    Have to share my husband's coop design:

    Pallets, cattle and horse panels, plywood, old pool cover tarp, and compost . . .

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    Setting the posts and pallets.

    The entire structure is 40 feet long x 8 feet wide. 20 x 8 is the enclosed coop, and 20 x 8 is the run area.


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    Adding cattle panels for the hoop - - - elevated by the pallets at the base.

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    The dividing wall between the enclosed coop and the run area.

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    Added the repurposed pool cover from my in-law's swimming pool. It will trap heat in winter and provide shade in summer. We can raise or lower the sides a bit. The pallets/chicken netting at the bottom allow a lot of ventilation through the coop.

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    Cattle panels, with their larger openings and cheaper price, are under the tarp. We used more expensive horse panels on the run area to keep out aerial predators for an enclosed, safe, open-air space. Cattle panels and horse panels are 16 ft. long steel, rigid panels for creating animal pens. You can find them at Tractor Supply or other farm stores.


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    We scooped up our compost heap and added it to the run with some pine shavings (which are also in the enclosed/tarped coop area). We toss in any kitchen scraps, weeds from the garden, etc. into the run area for endless nourishment, entertainment and exercise for the chickens.

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    The door to the outside has a secure lock on it.


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    They come running when they see us with the compost bucket of kitchen scraps!

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    Inside the coop.

    Since adding the compost run, they're not eating much of their regular feed, which saves money! They're filling up on greens and leftover oatmeal, apple peelings, leftover cabbage slaw, etc. And, of course, they're feeding off the bugs and microbial organisms in the heap.

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    We stapled 2 feet of chicken wire at the bottom of the structure - 6 inches of overlap up the chicken netting on the pallets and 18 inches on the dirt. Then we laid down gravel around the perimeter. A good barrier to deter predators - - - gravel, chicken netting and dirt between them and the birds inside.

    We cut a window on the north side - and there's a door and window on the south side - to allow better air flow in the top portion of the coop since the tarp traps heat so well.

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    Right now, we have 28 chickens in there - 3 cockerels and 25 pullets. They're enjoying their coop and run until we start free ranging them during the day as they grow larger. We live on 18 acres, and we built the coop close to the house, backyard and garden area.

    We've now added nestboxes on the outside of the coop for easy egg collection and clean-out:

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    My father-in-law took some old metal shelving we had and adjusted the size, painted them, and used them as the base with wood all around it. Should be easy to clean out. Each box is 12" wide, 15" tall, and 15" deep.

    We'll paint the plywood on the outside to resist weather wear. Then, we'll sit back and enjoy!

    The entire coop is not exactly beautiful, but it sure is functional! Happy, health birds!

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Comments

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  1. Streetview
    I'm not sure how I missed the first photo. Duh me! Sorry. I guess I got too excited to see the end result and scrolled fast!
  2. knightwriter
    Good question! Every 10 feet of the length down each side, we dug about 2 feet deep into the ground with an auger and used concrete around the base of a 2 x 4. We screwed the pallets into each other and to the posts. We sawed off the tops of the 2 x 4s and used them in other odds and ends of construction.

    If you look at the first photo posted, you'll see these 2 x 4 posts.
  3. Streetview
    How did you 'sink' your pallets so that they wont fall over? It looks like maybe they are just partially buried? I am doing a similar pallet fence but can't bury very far because of tree roots :(
  4. knightwriter
    Motorcycle Chick,
    These are actual "cattle panels" and "horse panels" like these:
    http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/feedlot-panel-cattle-16-ft-l-x-50-in-h
    http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/horse-fence-panel-5-ft-x-16-ft

    These are heavy and rigid - - - not rolls of fencing.

    I've seen others use these for mobile coops where the hoop is attached to a wood frame on the ground. But, we raised ours with pallets so we can enter it easily.

    The curve - - - HA! My husband thinks it's so "hillbilly." We just held up the salvaged plywood pieces to the hoop curve and used a Sharpie to mark it. Then, we used a dual blade electric saw and cut it as best we could. He drilled a few holes at the top and attached the wood to the panel with heavy wire.

    The pallets, plywood and tarp were free materials. Most of our expense was in the panels that form the hoop - - - but we like it better than trying to make something with wood and chicken netting. It'll be quite secure in the long run.
  5. ChookRanger
    Wow, it looks so nice. I like how much room it has.
  6. Mountain Peeps
    Love it!! So creative:)
  7. MotorcycleChick
    Is cattle and horse paneling what it is actually called? The feed stores and building supply stores are all looking at me strange. Is It just cattle and horse fencing like some people use cheaper grade of for their garden?
    Also, how the heck did you cut such a perfect curve for the front and back walls?
  8. crazyfeathers
    I love it what a great idea.

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